Category Archives: Astrobiology

Cleveland’s Portal to Kcymaerxthaere.

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Just off Perkins avenue, you will find a number of warehouses and other structures built upon the husks of the deeply spiritual, inter-dimensional and non-linear Warres. Denizens of the apocryphal Kcymaerxthaere, these coral like creatures are of much interest to the locals in the neighborhood as they have influenced the shape of things in our world. You can learn more of this liminal world, documented by roaming cartographer Eames Demetrios, at www.kcymaerxthaere.com.

A visit to this thinning of the walls between worlds is just the thing for Halloween season. Look near 4701 Perkins Ave. Cleveland, Ohio, 44103.

Cosmos – 38 Years Old Friday!

Cosmos was an award winning science documentary series created by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan and Steven Soter. It first aired on September 28, 1980. The final episode of Cosmos, Sagan dealt with mankind’s potential annihilation in nuclear fire, the precariousness of reason, mankind’s death in an apoplexy of nuclear fire, and the awesome choice before us. For all of its now nostalgic cold war language, the problem still exists. The doomsday machine of thermonuclear weapons still sit in there American and Russian silos, submarine fleets still prowl, and the threat of nuclear winter now stands proven. All of those weapons, or even just a few of them could trigger the stratospheric smoke of our burning cities, ending agriculture and humanity in an hour of fire an terror.  For your enjoyment, Cosmos, A Personal Voyage, Ep. 13, “Who Speaks for Earth,” found on youtube:

Cosmos – 38 Years Old Friday!

Cosmos was an award winning science documentary series created by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan and Steven Soter. It first aired on September 28, 1980. The series dealt with the Earth’s precious rarity in the universe and the mutual death struggle between the United States and Russia. It dealt with the story of the Earth’s creation, humanity’s struggle to the path of reason, and potentially, mankind’s death in an apoplexy of nuclear fire. For your enjoyment, Cosmos, A Personal Voyage, Ep. 1, found on youtube:

Tomorrow, Ep. 13, “Who Speaks for Earth?”

Book Review: Space Opera

Space Opera
by Catherynne M. Valente
Saga Press

spaceoperaSpace Opera is the love child of Ziggy Stardust and Douglas Adams. There is no doubt about it. Someplace in the afterlife, they got it on in some sort of intergalactic, orgiastic, cosmic union and channeled their union through writer Catherynne M. Valente who dutifully produced their progeny. There really is no doubt about this, no doubt at all.

Take the first sentence. Does it not ring with the sound of Adams’, “uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy”?

Once upon a time on a small, watery, excitable planet called Earth, in a small, watery excitable country called Italy, a soft-spoken, rather nice-looking gentleman by the name of Enrico Fermi was born into a family so overprotective that he felt compelled to invent the atomic bomb.

For the first couple dozen pages, you would be forgiven if you thought Valente had channeled Adams’ ghost. Then you meet down-on-his-luck glam rocker Decibel Jones. Then Jones meets the Roadrunner. Then the dials get turned up to eleven, ripped off of the amps, hurled into orbit, down the digestive track of a wormhole, and finally poured on stage at the galactic equivalent of Eurovision. Oh, and if Jones fails, we all die.

But the book isn’t just a page turner because of the plot. There are aliens. Oh there are so many glorious aliens. Talking viruses, animate knife-o-saureses, undulating tubes of molten Venetian glass, wayward computer code, aliens made of tough, stringy math and many, many more. There are words. Oh there are so many glorious words. Valente’s prose doesn’t sing. It kicks the door down with its thigh-high bejeweled pumps, seizes the microphone with a sequin-gloved hand and belts out a glam-rock ballad through glittered lips. Take for example:

No one weeps for meat, after all.

If that one blue idiot ball had such trouble solving the meat/people equation when presented with, say, a German and a person not from Germany, imagine the consternation of the Alunizar Empire upon discovering all those Ursulas floating about on their cut-rate lavadump, or the Inaki, a species of tiny, nearly invisible parasitic fireflies capable of developing a sophisticated group consciousness, provided enough of them were safely snuggled into the warm chartreuse flesh of a Lensari pachyderm. Imagine the profound existential annoyance of those telekinetic sea squirts who ruled half the galaxy when their deep-space pioneers encountered the Sziv, a race of massively intelligent pink algae who fast-forwarded their evolutionary rise up the pop charts with spore-based nanocomputers, whose language consisted of long, luminous screams that could last up to fourteen hours and instantly curdle any nearby dairy products. And how could anyone be expected to deal with the Hrodos with a straight face when the whole species seemed to be nothing more than a very angry sort of twilit psychic hurricane occurring on one measly gas giant a thousand light-years from a decent dry cleaner?

And so it goes, right up the pop charts and into galactic history. This is the most fantastic, phantasmagoric, cosmic and funny book you can read this summer. Just go get it already? What are you waiting for, an abduction? When the aliens come, they come for us all baby. Just turn the page.

Buy it now at Mac’s Backs on coventry or direct from Amazon.

Previous technological civilizations on Earth?

 

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“Space is big, really big,” says The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Well, TIME is bigger. Humans exist for only an eyeblink in the cosmic tapestry, and in that time, all of our culture and civilization have arisen. It would disappear totally in a surprising short amount of time, measured in tens of thousands of years. Given 4 billion years of time, life’s history leaves room for multiple advanced civilizations to arise and die. Gavin Schmidt, climate modeler and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies recently contacted University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank and they explored two questions which yielded a very interesting paper:

“How do you know we’re the only time there’s been a civilization on our own planet?”

“Could we even tell if there had been an industrial civilization [long before this one]?”

Their exploration nods to Dr. Who with its title of “The Silurian Hypothesis: Would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record?” You can read a much more approachable article by Steven Ashley at Scientific American.

Ashley writes:

“I find it amazing that no one had worked all this out before, and I’m really glad that somebody has taken a closer look at it,” says Pennsylvania State University astronomer Jason Wright, who last year published “a fluffy little paper” exploring the counterintuitive notion that the best place to find evidence of any of Earth’s putative prehuman civilizations may well be off-world. If, for instance, dinosaurs built interplanetary rockets, presumably some remnants of that activity might remain preserved in stable orbits or on the surfaces of more geologically inert celestial bodies such as the moon.

“Look, 200 years ago the question of whether there might be a civilization on Mars was a legitimate one,” Wright says. “But once the pictures came out from interplanetary probes, that was settled for good. And that view became ingrained, so now it’s not a valid topic for scientific inquiry; it’s considered ridiculous. But no one’s ever put the actual scientific limits on it—on what may have happened a long time ago.”

So what would the be? Not extraterrestrials certainly. Paleoterrestrials maybe? What do you think? Check it out.